Exclusive Interview With Ray Mercer - "Guys Won't Take A Chance Against Me"

14.10.09 - by James Slater - Veteran former heavyweight champions Ray Mercer and Hasim Rahman were scheduled to fight at the end of they year, in a reasonably intriguing crossroads fight. However, one look at Box Rec tells you the fight is now a no go.

Wondering why, I called up "Merciless" and asked him..

Very kindly granting me the following interview, the former Olympic gold medallist and WBO heavyweight king gave me the following answers to my questions:

James Slater: It's a privilege to speak with you, Champ, as always. We hear the fight you and Hasim Rahman were going to have is off now? What's the latest on that, Ray?

Ray Mercer: How you doing, my man? No, that fight's not happening now; they were offering me way not enough money. I'd love the fight, I know I can beat Rahman easy, but this is a business, you now?

J.S: We were all looking forward to it, it was up on Box Rec as happening in December.

R.M: I don't even know how it got that far! I told his team I would not take the fight for the kind of money they were offering. I've got my pride, man! They offered me a fight with Rahman two years ago - for $50,000. I would have considered that, I always wanted to fight Rahman, but now they were offering me almost nothing. This fight is just a club fight - no T.V , no internet, nothing.

J.S: I wrote a piece on the fight, and most of the readers on Eastside left comments saying they felt you'd win, by KO. It's a shame the fight isn't happening in a way.

R.M: I know I can beat him. I wanted this fight twice before, but it never happened. I was in shape, that's why. As old as I am now, I know how to train. I think they [Team-Rahman] got cold feet when they found out what good shape I'm in.

J.S: Well, if they offered you chump change I can understand why the fight's off. So now that that fight's gone, will you fight this year - against someone else?

R.M: Of course! I will definitely fight again before the end of the year. It's just a matter of finding the right fight, and the Rahman fight wasn't.

J.S: Well, as you know, Ray, people are still talking about your KO of MMA'a Tim Sylvia. Would you prefer another MMA fight, or a boxing match next?

R.M: I'd do either. I'd rather box, but I would do either. I'd like another name from MMA to step forward. I even offered Sylvia a rematch, but he wasn't interested - he wanted no part of Ray Mercer! I hope someone else will step up - 'cos this boxing Vs. MMA thing is pretty hot right now.

J.S: I guess it must be hard for you to get fights, Ray. On the one hand, you're a 48-year-old former champ who, if a fighter beats you people would say you're an old guy. But on the other hand, you're still very dangerous for any young fighter. Is it tough getting fights?

R.M: It is tough; for the reasons you said. Guys won't take the chance, and I can't say I blame 'em (laughs). I hope I catch a guy off guard. I'll stay in the gym and I'll stay in shape.

J.S: I am a fan, Ray, and I would like to see you fight again - you're too young to quit!

R.M: I will fight again this year. You know, my dream fight, my absolute dream fight, would be to go to Germany and bring the title back home to America. That would be my dream fight. But I guess there's not much chance of that fight happening.

J.S: Something that may interest and surprise you, Ray, is the fact that a former opponent of yours, "Smokin'" Bert Cooper, is scheduled to make a comeback on October 24th!

R.M: I am surprised by that! But then again, with the current state of the heavyweight division, I'm not that shocked. There are no heavyweight fights on TV now, and that's ridiculous; that's never happened before. All the top trainers, they're training Russians right now, because that's where all the money is. I hate to see it like it is now. Here's an idea: they should put me, Rahman and Cooper on the same card on TV! People would tune in to see that.

J.S: The first fight you and Cooper had sure was a classic. The kind of heavyweight fight we never see today - you both threw something like a hundred punches a round!

R.M: It was the fight of the year that year (1990).

J.S: Who knows, if Cooper can get a few wins and looks good, we could see Mercer-Cooper II!

R.M: Anything's possible. We need to give the fans the great fights we used to.

J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Ray. I always appreciate your time.

R.M: Okay, my man, Call me any time.

Article posted on 15.10.2009

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